Review Summary: A wonderfully solid sophomore effort from a band worth keeping an eye on...
These past few years have seen an incredible amount of quality hardcore releases. Not only have some great albums been produced, but great bands are popping up left and right, redefining and refining the genre itself . It’s easy to revel in the new found inspiration that the genre has found, as some outstanding material has been created, much of which comes from all corners of the Earth. From the United States to Japan, things have been great for fans of the genre. Bands such as Defeater and More Than Life may be young, but their veracity and passion have earned them critical acclaim, and a constantly growing fanbases. Well it’s time to add another band to that list, because Alpinist’s sophomore effort proves that they’re a force to be reckoned with.
It’s easy to ride Alpinist off as a novelty. Truly it is, as the band hasn't really made any waves in the states. Being fairly young, and originating from Germany, Alpinist haven't truly grabbed the attention of many. Their oppressive sound combined with an angry aesthetic doesn’t exactly do much in the way of creating anything revolutionary, which hasn't helped their odds of breaking out. With "Lichtlarem" being their sophomore effort, the band has a lot prove.
That being said, “Lichtlaerm” is stunningly solid. Surprisingly so, considering the general inexperienced nature of the band. It’s frenetic nature somehow feels as if it’s been polished to a sheen, and everything seems incredibly well organized and well thought out. Its crusty aesthetic creates an all around dense atmosphere, which adds a little bit of character to an otherwise chaotic and unruly album. This is where the album truly shines, in its brazen yet wonderfully refined and tightened sound. Because of this, “Lichtlaerm” is heavy but perfectly contained, offering up a bevy of dense and crushing instrumentals , complimented by some rather intense and passionate screams.
Along with the wonderfully solid sound, the production is also pretty fantastic, which helps bolster the whole affair down. While not perfect, the crude nature of the sound adds a lot to the album's feel, piling up even more character to “Lichtlaerm.” The drums are crystal clear in their tenacious crashing, and the guitars are tuned to a fine degree of heaviness and cleanliness. Everything works and sounds as it should, and the product is excellent because of it. And while a little on the grating side, the album sports some pretty decent vocals. It’s obvious they guy is putting a lot behind them, and the exuberance shines clear through something, that by all rights, should sound fairly obnoxious. Regardless, his raw emotion gives the album a certain genuine feeling, which helps the album feel a little more personal.
This unabashed emotion resonates throughout the work's entirety, making nearly every song stand out to some extent. And while it may take a few listens to appreciate, “Lichtlaerm” offers an impressive and diverse track list. There’s loads of variety throughout, making everything incredibly interesting and fresh. Aside from a few homogeneous portions of rather bland selections, the album makes very few missteps. “Licht” and “Yarncarrier And Break” offer more instrumental songs, with a heavier emphasis on mood and atmosphere, while showcasing the band's more subtle songwriting abilities. After all, Alpinist are more than a group of angry young men making angry sounding music. Rather, these tracks highlight the more creative aspects of the band's sound. Situated in the middle, the two tracks anchor the album down with a fine transition change, that is before the chaos re-ensues. ”Deliberate” is an excellent opener, as it starts off very menacing, but quickly leads into a brash and rapid combination of riffs and cymbal crashes. Chaotic and brash, the track is a great intro. “Neverest” boasts the albums most fierce and interesting track. Featuring some great guitar work and vocal interplay, the track is tremendously solid, and an all around standout. The mid-section boast a wonderful guitar piece, which truly makes its presence known in respect to the surrounding maelstrom.
With “Lichtlaerm,” Alpinist are out to show the world that they’ve got something to prove, and prove it they do. With incredibly intense and vivacious material accentuating their crusty-hardcore aesthetic, Alpinist demand to be on your radar.